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In a recent article published by The Epoch Times, Kyle Hemmert, a Kansas cattle rancher, talked about his concern about the dwindling numbers of cattle farmers in Ireland and the Netherlands, fearing that this is an omen for himself and other ranchers.

“What’s happening in the beef industry is the same thing that’s happened in the sheep industry,” Mr. Hemmert stated.

“America peaked at 51 million sheep; today, we have less than 5 million.” “I’m seeing empty pastures in my area,” he said. “People said ‘to hell with it.’”

“The cattle industry is the last frontier; it’s the last segment of the livestock industry that still has a sufficient level of competition to sustain independent producers,” Mr. Bullard said.

R-CALF, an organization representing approximately 5,000 independent cattle ranchers, is striving to protect their independence in the face of four major buyers for their cows, newly implemented federal initiatives that disproportionately benefit large packing companies, and environmental activism advocating for a reduction in cattle numbers due to purported greenhouse gas emissions.

“The model that they have applied, first to the poultry industry and now to the hog industry, has been extremely successful for the multinational meat packers that want to vertically integrate the entire industry,” Mr. Bullard said, “and that vertical integration kills competition.”

The cash markets that once existed between buyers and sellers in these industries have largely diminished, resulting in farmers becoming either employees or working under contract to packing companies.


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“Now, if you want to produce hogs, you do so by invitation from an integrator because you have a contract to produce hogs,” Mr. Bullard said. “They’re applying that, unfortunately, very successful model to the cattle industry right now.”

Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) has also commented on the issue.

“That’s the example of vertical integration that’s already happened in large part with our pork producers and our poultry producers,” Ms. Hageman states. “And they want to do exactly the same thing with our ranches. They want to basically make our ranchers nothing but paid employees, and the ranches and the real property would be owned by the big packers.”

South Dakota rancher Brett Kenzy commented that the American rancher is a reminder of a bygone era when hardworking, self-reliant, independent, entrepreneurial, religious and multigenerational people were commonplace.

Furthermore, there are now concerns that if the majority of meat production is left in the hands of a select few corporations, it will be detrimental to many farmers and leave Americans at the mercy of some global players.

“The miracle of the cow is the fact that she has four chambers in her stomach, and she can eat grass, which is carbohydrate, and create protein,” Mr. Kenzy said. “They’re the only animal on earth that can do it that efficiently.

“Beef is the most well-balanced source for human beings in terms of vitamins, minerals and protein,” he said, “but that four-chambered stomach, as they’re running it through, they belch methane.”

Cows have become the focus of climate activists due to their methane emissions. Numerous corporations that manage food markets have joined initiatives such as Climate Action 100+ and made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from themselves and their suppliers.

“Rather than just killing off the cattle all at once, this is going to be a controlled implosion of the beef industry,” Mr. Kenzy said. “I think the end goal is ultimately controlling the food supply.”

Cattle ranchers “went through a period from 2015 to 2021 where they could not recover their cost of production,” Mr. Bullard said. “We’ve seen segments of our industry literally drop like flies.”

“Just four decades ago, we had about 1.3 million independent cattle farmers and ranchers that were maintaining mother cow herds and raising calves each year,” Mr. Bullard said. “Due to economic costs, price squeezes, a lack of profitability, and a lack of competition [among buyers], we wiped out 43 percent of them.”

American households have observed prices for beef rising steadily over the past few years. Data from the Federal Reserve indicates that the average price paid by consumers for beef increased from $3.89 per pound in January 2020 to $5.10 per pound as of July 2023.

“The fact that cattle producers were receiving seriously depressed prices for the cattle, at the same time that consumers were paying super inflated prices for beef in the grocery store, that prompted us to file a national class action suit against the largest four packers that control 85 percent of the fed cattle market,” Mr. Bullard said.


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In recent times, the price increases have been finally reflected in the operations of those ranchers who have managed to stay in business.

“This year is going to be profitable for the cow-calf man, but for the last six, seven years there has not been profit,” Mr. Hemmert said.

“When there’s not profit, it signals to the industry to cut back, quit producing, and there’s been a lot of cow herds that have been sold.”

“It took decimation of the cow-calf industry to make us profitable again,” he said. “That’s kind of sad, right?”

The North American Meat Institute, comprised of leading meat packing companies that contribute to more than 95 percent of America’s meat and poultry products, established the Protein PACT Academic Advisory Council in June with the intention of collaborating with its members to set greenhouse gas reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.

The SBTi works in conjunction with organizations such as the United Nations Global Compact and World Wildlife Fund to promote a zero-carbon economy and spur sustainable growth through setting ambitious but realistic emissions reduction objectives. According to their website, companies within forest, land, and agriculture sectors will reduce at least 72% of their emissions by no later than 2050.

Tyson Foods has committed to achieving a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, specifically regarding beef production. This is part of their 2021 Sustainability Report.

It is generally accepted that significant reductions in emissions are needed globally if we are to meet climate-change targets; however, most efforts focus on western nations only.

A 2022 report from Earth.org stated that wealthier countries must cut back on meat consumption by 75% or more for this goal to be met successfully.

A 2018 study published in Nature (pdf) indicated that, in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, beef consumption in western countries would need to be significantly reduced by approximately 90 percent.

This has generated considerable debate within the agricultural industry as cattle ranchers are among the last livestock farmers who have not been absorbed by global food conglomerates.

“Cattle is the single largest segment of American agriculture; it sets itself apart from the hog and poultry industries,” Mr. Bullard said. “The hog and poultry industry are primarily controlled by multinational meatpacking conglomerates, and they have the ability to defend their interests, unlike the disaggregated independent family farmers and ranchers scattered across the country.

“They simply don’t have the resources to fight back,” he said. “What the climate change folks have done is pick the low-hanging fruit, and that’s the U.S. cattle industry.”

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) is an international organization comprised of representatives from 24 countries, whose mission is to promote sustainability in the global beef value chain.

With membership including three of the four dominant meat packers: Tyson Foods, JBS, and Cargill, GRSB has recently announced its commitment to reducing the net global warming impact of beef by 30% by 2030 through global sustainability goals.

This movement towards environmental social and governance (ESG) is a significant development in food production that should not be overlooked.

“The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is perpetuating this globalism, where the standards are being set, not in the United States, but globally,” Mr. Bullard said. “They are dictating standards to producers, and they are able to enforce those standards by limiting access to the marketplace because GRSB consists of the world’s largest meat packers.

“But the standards are arbitrary in terms of how it affects the quality and safety of the meat that’s produced,” he said.

Cattle production is divided into three distinct stages, with separate farms often managing each stage. This has made it more challenging to vertically integrate the industry.


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The first is the cow-calf producer, which maintains a herd of mother cows and produces approximately one calf per year for each cow.

The second stage, known as backgrounding, involves giving growing rations to calves from around six months old until they reach an approximate weight of 900 pounds at one year of age.

Lastly, feedlots are used to fatten cows prior to slaughter usually by grazing.

“We’re a highly segmented industry,” Mr. Kenzy said. “That’s why we’ve been so hard to capture.”

In the past, the stages of raising cattle featured arms-length transactions in which prices were set by supply and demand, as well as the quality of the ranchers’ cattle.

“The feedlot industry has become really concentrated in itself,” Mr. Hemmert said. “These huge feed yards have made these captive supply agreements with one of the four major packers to get all their cattle.”

Meanwhile, there appears to be little interest within the Biden administration in enforcing antitrust laws in the animal agriculture industry.

A relevant law is the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act, which was written “to assure fair competition and fair trade practices, to safeguard farmers and ranchers, … to protect consumers, … and to protect members of the livestock, meat, and poultry industries from unfair, deceptive, unjustly discriminatory and monopolistic practices,” the USDA states.

“Many people in the USDA abandoned their core mission, which is really protecting our independent producers and our livestock producers, and they have aligned themselves with big business,” Ms. Hageman said.

“We don’t want a monopoly when it comes to food supply, and the fact is that the United States produces the healthiest, highest quality beef of any country in the world,” she said. “You don’t hear about very many instances where there is a problem, and in fact the instances that you do hear about are typically in the processing end of it, not the cattle production end of it.

“Our cattle producers run their operations very well; they take excellent care of their land because they’re dependent on it to make a living,” she said. “They are some of the very best conservationists that there are, in terms of protecting these resources and open spaces.”

Mr. Hemmert, the Kansas cattle rancher, said ranchers can produce more if given the opportunity to be profitable.

“But if you’re not profitable, you’re not going to produce, and your banker is not going to let you,” he said.

Mr. Kenzy discussed the previous attempts by the government to diminish a food supply.


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“In the 1800s, they killed all the buffalo off in the northern plains, and they did that to eradicate the ability of the Indians to sustain themselves,” Mr. Kenzy said. “And this war on beef, it looks to me like it’s much the same thing.”

 

Doug Goldsmith

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9 comments

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  • Biden and company are working to eliminate the cattle/meat industry as well as dairy products. They think cattle and other farm animals produce too much methane. And people don’t understand why the price of groceries is skyrocketing!

    • ^5 they want us dead and those who can still eat or those being set up to sign up for the Mark Of the Beast will eat Fake Meat

  • UNDERSTAND YOUR COMMUNIST GUVMUNT IS DOING THIS.
    UNDERSTAND the WEF, UN, WHO and BLACK ROCK are Pushing Corporations to do this crime to the CITIZENS of the world. Gates wants 1/3rd of the population dead, doesnt that sound like 1/3rd of the Demonic angles being cast from heaven?
    We are living in Biblical Times and you can laugh and mock all you like BUT GOD is sending Jesus Back as He Promised and you need Your creator and Saviour

    • Ironic that they have the biggest mouths, biggest butts, and do the least for this country than real people. They have fake minds, fake intentions, and fake family ties.

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